Monday, October 11, 2010

Fatherhood - Part 2 (This is Heavy)

Summer turned to autumn and the impending day came closer and closer. On November 6th, 2007 I was scheduled to work from 1 to 9:30. At that time, she was on bed rest due to some earlier complications. We enjoyed a very leisurely morning of lying around and watching television and playing with our dogs. As work time approached, I said my farewells and off I went, not having any inkling what would happen that day. As the clock hit 2 P.M. my store phone rang and my frantic wife was on the other end.

“It’s time!” She exclaimed.

“Huh? What’s time?” I stammered, not really thinking about the statement she made. “Oh. That! I’ll be on my way soon!”

On the way home, I had to stop and get gas for the car. Rarely have I felt like such a failure in the eyes of myself, my wife, and my in-laws. My mother-in-law had warned me to not let the fuel gauge go to low, but I had no thoughts that, on that particular Tuesday, I would need to fill up before I got off of work.

I arrived home to find a wife who was contracting heavily, but also still with it enough to have her bag ready and to dish out orders on things I needed to take care of before we left. We arrived at the hospital around 3 P.M. The labor slowed a bit at that point, but they knew that my first born son would be there relatively soon.

Shortly after midnight on November 7th, 2007 my son Grayson was brought into this world by one kooky doctor, a team of the best O.B. nurses in the area, a super tough 125 lb (remember, she was 9 months pregnant) mom to be, and a very pale, almost passed out, first time daddy. The labor itself was like something from a science fiction novel. It was bizarre to someone who has no real interest in how the human body works and has a very, very squeamish stomach. It was tough for me to make it through. I can’t imagine what she put up with; what all of you ladies put up with. I had the easy part. I was there to be her rock; to lend moral support. The only requirements bestowed upon me were 1) don’t pass out and 2) Keep your dinner in you and not on the floor. I succeeded, but narrowly.

Then, that kooky doctor handed the nurses this screaming, red, ball of anger. He was none too pleased about being removed from his nice warm home. It was November in Western Kentucky for crying out loud! As I watched the nurses and respiratory therapist do their duty to make sure this little person was really ready to make his entrance into the world I felt some of the most intense emotion I have ever felt. It was love and adoration for my wife. She was a champion. The soundtrack that would play in my mind for her was authored and performed by Queen from this point forward. It was an overwhelming pride in my family and what we could accomplish. Most of all, I felt an enormous sense of responsibility. The little, angry, red person was mine. He came from a union of love between his mother and me. In the infamous words of Marty McFly, “This is heavy.” This sense of responsibility has driven me and will continue to drive me to make sure that I am the best possible husband and father that I can be. Sure, sometimes I drop the ball and make boneheaded decisions, but who doesn’t? I must force myself to pick the ball back up and get back into the game.

From November 7th, 2007 until my last day on this Earth, I will be a father. Nothing can change that. In my eyes, there is nothing more important than the responsibility my wife and I have to raise our children. No sacrifice is too much to make to be assured that they are happy and well taken care of. Does this mean I cannot take the risks that I might have taken otherwise? You’re damn right it does. These are pure fatherhood principles I have learned from my father. He never sat me down and told me what was expected of me when I had minions of my own, but instinctually I knew because I’ve seen it my entire life and continue to see it to this day.

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